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Mennonites Don't Dance Paperback – Sep 21 2010
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About the Author
Darcie Friesen Hossack is a Thistledown Press author.
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Top Customer Reviews
The characters in "Mennonites Don't Dance" authentically and fully integrate with their settings; they define themselves by land and climate but also by familial expectations. Certainly, patriarchs rule these families but the author portrays mothers and children with equally arresting clarity.
Darcie Friesen Hossack prose is mesmerizing and ingeniously understated. She maintains strict narrative control while combining clean images with plot elements of both surprise and inevitability. As a result, the reader experiences authentic sentiment throughout this collection, which succeeds in maintaining structural depth, psychological intricacy and stunning emotional impact.
Congratulations on "Mennonites Don't Dance"! As an avid reader of your (and Dean's!) Courier column, I eagerly awaited your book! Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend your launching at the Kelowna Library, but a few days later I was able to scoop a signed copy for myself and for each of my 4 sisters! They were great little gifts to take down to the Penner family Thanksgiving gathering at the coast.
Your stories were as wonderful to read as I expected. I did not have the "prairie experience my self; I was born after my parents had moved to that B.C. Mennonite mecca - Yarrow. (Daughter of Raspberry Penner, who was son of Postman Penner - you know what I mean.) Some of that old prairie ethic certainly did come along for the ride, though.
I had a good laugh at your reference to Peach Pie in "Ashes". That instinctive frugality hit me as I was making my contribution to the Penner Thanksgiving feast: Plum Platz. All my life I thought it was a "given" that it took exactly 14 plums to make a 9x12 Platz. Here I was, making 4 of those suckers, and STILL had pounds and pounds of those prolific fruits still on the counter. The thought of making MORE Plum Platz was crazy-making! Oh! Wow! What a thought! I could STAND THE PLUMS ON EDGE! I could fit 30 or 40 plums in each pan! Genius! (Big hit at the dinner party too!) We Mennonites (using the term loosely here) still have some built-in traits, that's for sure.
Anyway, thanks for the book. The stories were very thought-provoking. I am delighted to note that even non-Mennonites are "getting" it, and I am looking forward to more from you!
In one of the stories called Ashes, Anke has lost her husband Abraham and has no choice but to sell her house to her son Matthew who is newly married to Libby. Anke feels as though she's the unwelcome guest in the upstairs bedroom. She wonders if they appreciate her sacrifice.
Libby, the new daughter in-law has taken over and wants to make the house hers. Anke dislikes Libby instantly and feels that Libby is trying to change things.
It begins with Anke and Libby bickering over how many peaches go into one peach pie. Libby begins by heaping peaches in one pie crust and is soon corrected by Anke who can make six peach pies out of all those peaches. Anke begins by scooping out all the fruit in the one pie and dividing it into six pie crusts and now six pies go into the oven.
Libby is expecting her very first child and her mother in-law Anke wants the baby to be named Abraham after Anke's late husband, but Libby rejects naming her baby after a dead person.
Libby decides on the name Abel. Anke is getting angrier with each moment and says "so you won't use the name of my dead husband, but you would curse a child with the name of the first person murdered on this earth." Libby then asks her mother in-law "what if it's a girl?." Anke replies by saying she doesn't want any "new-age" names. Anke insists on a solid German European name like Ruth, after her late baby daughter.
Tragedy strikes and Anke and Libby have bridged the generation gap for now. They both have something in common and their lives have changed forever.Read more ›
Mennonites Don't Dance is a deeply affecting book about grace, forgiveness, anger, patriarchal systems, heartbreak -I have felt so many emotions while reading this book. I think it helps to have some sort of Mennonite background - or some knowledge of what the religion is -but I think that the short stories transcend those who are Mennonite. This is more a story of humanity and the forces and emotions that affect us all. The author is very gifted - she is not sentimental - she just tells the story and leaves us to judge or think for ourselves. Sandra Birdsell - a prominent literary writer in Canada taught this author creative writing at Humber colllege and also endorses her book. It great read and I very much enjoyed it - and even shed a few tears
Most recent customer reviews
Disappointed. Stories were a little on the negative. Not at all the memories I have growing up in a Mennonite family and community. The end of the stories were not complete. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Rhonda Wright
I live in a rural community where both Amish and German Mennonite families live. That's why the title of the book piqued my interest. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2012 by Mary Ann Crossett
Darcie Friesen Hossack's stories in MENNONITES DON'T DANCE are a treasure to read: The prose is elegantly crafted, the characters are richly human and the details are deliciously... Read morePublished on Dec 20 2010 by kdianne
Darcie Friesen Hossack's first collection of short stories is a quiet, stunning book about people looking for or stumbling upon moments of grace in their lives. Read morePublished on Dec 8 2010 by teri v
Mennonites Don't Dance is a beautiful book of short stories. Deftly drawn characters were so vibrant and alive to me that they felt like neighbours and friends. Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2010 by Lily B.